Smithsonian Freer Gallery Sackler Gallery National Museum of Asian Art Gallery Guide to the Visual Poetry
Introductionpage 1page 2page 3Persian Poetry and Paintingpage 1page 2rizaingpage 1page 2Persian Poetry and Paintingpage 1page 2
Like all portraiture, Safavid examples focus on the physical appearance and psychological state of their subjects, creating a more personal and immediate engagement between the viewer and image. However, they still followed the norms of Persian painting, which has always favored abstraction over representation. Even if more naturalistic than the poetically inspired figural images, Persian portraiture frequently oscillated between the real and the ideal, the specific and the generalized, evoking different readings and interpretations.

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Grand Vizier Shah-Quli Khan
Signed by Hajji-Muhammad
Iran, probably Isfahan, dated 1696
Opaque watercolor, ink, and gold on paper
Lent by The Art and History Trust   LTS1995.2.182

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